The Return of the 12-Piece Type Set
From time to time, I still see a relic from the 1980s: 12-piece US gold type sets housed in Capital plastic holders with all coins graded “Brilliant Uncirculated”. In nearly all cases, at least a few of the coins aren’t “BU” and, in a few cases, at least one or two of the coins are counterfeit.
This collecting trend died with the advent of slabbing, but it is making a comeback in 2022. This set consists of three gold dollars, two quarter eagles, one three dollar, two half eagles, two eagles, and two double eagles.
Typically, all the coins in this set are Uncirculated, with most grading at least MS63 to MS64. Every type in this 12-coin group is obtainable in MS65, although the Three Dollar and the Indian Head half eagle are challenging; especially if the set is going to be all approved by CAC.
To make this set a bit more interesting, I would suggest adding “plus” coins (i.e., MS64+) when sensible, and better dates. Again, when sensible.
The Return of the Type One Liberty Head Double Eagle Market
Due to the impact of thousands of Type One double eagles entering the market as the result of the Fairmont hoard, the market for most of this series suffered price meltdowns in 2018-2020.
In 2021, the market for Type One double eagles saw price increases for slightly better dates in AU and Uncirculated grades.
In 2022, I see this segment of the market showing further strength as more collectors become interested in this challenging series.
Type Ones truly have “something for everyone”, as issues range from $2,000 to $500,000+.
A trend within this market that I can see gaining traction in 2022 is a “year set” of Type One double eagles, which includes one example from each of the 17 years in which this design was produced.
Trophy Coins Soar in Demand and Price
There appears to be plenty of new money in the 2022 coin market, and many of the high-priced items are trophy coins. These aren’t necessarily the trophy coins of yore such as Stellas, High Reliefs, Wire Edge Indian Head eagles, and Pan-Pac $50s.
Trophy coins of 2022 struck in gold include high-denomination Proof gold, choice and Gem early gold (especially coins dated prior to 1800), ultra-rare Territorial and Pioneer issues, finest known, or high Condition Census branch mint rarities, and coins with great eye appeal.
Recent auction sales have shown that the “right” coin doesn’t have to be graded by PCGS (although this clearly helps), and it doesn’t even need to be approved by CAC (although this really helps).
Jump Coins Become Popular (Again)
Many years ago I wrote about a concept which I called “jump coins”. This entails buying good coins at the exact price point before they explode in value.
Let’s say we’re looking at a rare date Dahlonega quarter eagle in which the price guide is $7,500 in AU55 and $18,500 in AU58. If I were offered a nice original piece in a 55 holder for $8,500, and also had a chance to purchase a different example in a 58 holder which was also a nice coin for $20,000, it is very likely that I’ll buy the lower-priced coin as it is likely a better value.
Of course, this isn’t true 100% of the time. In the case of the Dahlonega quarter eagle mentioned above, if the AU58 represents the best available quality for the issue and it has a low population, I might well pay up for the higher-graded coin.
Pricing Coins Becomes Very Difficult
Even in a steady market, it is difficult to find accurate price guides for many better date gold coins. In a very strong market, like the one we are experiencing in 2022, it is almost impossible to find accurate pricing.
A lot of this has to do with the difficulty of keeping up with price changes – especially when they occur rapidly. Another issue is how much does one extremely strong transaction impact the market.
Let’s look at a random example.
In November 2021, Heritage sold a not-especially-choice PCGS AU58 1882-CC double eagle for an inexplicable $18,000. The most recent comparable for this was an NGC AU58 that sold for $6,490 in July 2021. At the time the PCGS coin was sold, the PCGS Price Guide had a value of $7,000 for this date. After this sale, the price was increased to $8,750 and it was increased again in January 2022 to $10,500. The market for CC twenties is very deep, and clearly, this one price was an outlier. But it tells me that this coin is difficult to price right now. In my opinion, a non-CAC 1882-CC $20 is currently worth around $7,750-8,250, while a CAC approved example is worth $8,750-9,750+.
* * *
About Doug Winter
Doug has spent much of his life in the field of numismatics; beginning collecting coins at the age of seven, and by the time he was 10 years old, buying and selling coins at conventions in the New York City area.
In 1989, he founded Douglas Winter Numismatics, and his firm specializes in buying and selling choice and rare US Gold coins, especially US gold coins and all branch mint material.
Recognized as one of the leading specialized numismatic firms, Doug is an award-winning author of over a dozen numismatic books and a recognized expert on US Gold. His knowledge and an exceptional eye for properly graded and original coins have made him one of the most respected figures in the numismatic community and a sought-after dealer by collectors and investors looking for professional personalized service, a select inventory of impeccable quality, and fair and honest pricing. Doug is also a major buyer of all US coins and is always looking to purchase collections both large and small. He can be reached at (214) 675-9897.
Doug has been a contributor to the Guidebook of United States Coins (also known as the “Red Book”) since 1983, Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Coins, Q. David Bowers’ Encyclopedia of United States Silver Dollars and Andrew Pollock’s United States Pattern and Related Issues.
In addition, he has authored 13 books on US Gold coins including:
- Gold Coins of the New Orleans Mint: 1839-1909
- Gold Coins of the Carson City Mint: 1870 – 1893
- Gold Coins of the Charlotte Mint: 1838-1861
- Gold Coins of the Dahlonega Mint 1838-1861
- The United States $3 Gold Pieces 1854-1889
- Carson City Gold Coinage 1870-1893: A Rarity and Condition Census Update
- An Insider’s Guide to Collecting Type One Double Eagles
- The Connoisseur’s Guide to United States Gold Coins
- A Collector’s Guide To Indian Head Quarter Eagles
- The Acadiana Collection of New Orleans Coinage
- Type Three Double Eagles, 1877-1907: A Numismatic History and Analysis
- Gold Coins of the Dahlonega Mint, 1838-1861: A Numismatic History and Analysis
- Type Two Double Eagles, 1866-1876: A Numismatic History and Analysis
Finally, Doug is a member of virtually every major numismatic organization, professional trade group and major coin association in the US.